Unless you were paying close attention, you may have missed a momentous occasion in politics and publishing earlier this year.
In 1998 the United States Congress passed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, adding an additional twenty years of copyright protection to all texts published from 1923-1977 and halting what had been a steady stream of material released to the public domain.
It has now been twenty years.
So while Americans were cleaning up from their New Year’s Eve parties or watching the Rose Bowl Parade, thousands of previously copyrighted works (including poems, books and essays by Willa Cather, Agatha Christie, Edith Wharton, Robert Frost, and Wallace Stevens) entered the public domain. Now, once again, every January 1st, Americans will be able to celebrate ‘Public Domain Day’ with new set of artworks, images, magazine articles, books, poems, and songs becoming free and available to all.
Veritas Journal will honor this year’s Public Domain Day by (legally) reproducing one of the most notable works to lose its copyright this year, Robert Frost’s famous poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”
“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” by Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.